It is said that anyone can sail the ship when the seas are calm. Meaning the most competent sailors are identified by the storms they have sailed through. A less frequently heard test is whether a sailor can avoid storms if at all possible. But I digress.
Ever since his inauguration pundits have fretted about what would happen when Trump is confronted with a real crisis. We have avoided a serious crisis since January 2017. Less serious challenges that have caught our attention have been mostly of Trump's own making. Intangible damage to the US' international reputation, constitution and norms of governance aside the US has been muddling through at least for now.
The three years he has been in power have provided ample evidence for concern about Trump's management of a real crisis. His shaky relationship with the truth has rendered him an incredible (i.e. not at all credible) source for reassurance when it is needed most. His preference for loyalty over competence has created a government run by inexperienced yes-people intent only on implementing the President's agenda - an incoherent mix of anti-government opportunism focused only on his re-election.
The COVID 19 virus aka Coronavirus presents a potential crisis that will have far reaching effects. Beyond its lethality, the virus has the potential to badly damage the global economy. I'm not just talking about the stock market. Disruption of global trade and manufacturing will soon lead to shortages of all sorts of goods thanks to industry's adoption of "just in time" inventory management. That practice kept costs low but eliminated the capacity to keep operating when supplies are interrupted. This is what caused last week's stock market crash. Business as we know it may shut down for an unforeseeable length of time. It is the fear of this, more than the reality of it, which will do the most damage. The US health system, recently badly damaged by Republican failure to replace the Affordable Care Act even as they effectively destroyed it, may be heavily taxed by people who are both ill with COVID-19 and afraid they might be.
The Peach President has proven himself a master at stoking fear and anger toward others. His self created challenges have been spun so that he may claim that he won. But this time he needs to calm peoples' fear, he needs to display competence - not just his own but that of his Cabinet. His legacy of lies and preference for lackeys does not inspire confidence.
Trump's supporters like to crow, without evidence, that he is the "Best President Ever". Events of the next few months may provide an objective basis for history to make that call.